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Pakistan

  • By: Julie Ahmad Siddique
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

In Pakistan, marriage and motherhood are considered essential components of womanhood. Islam is the predominant religious tradition in Pakistan, and local religious and social traditions emphasize that marriage is both a spiritual and social obligation. Cultural pressures encourage women to marry and have children, and value women's role as the caretaker in the family. As a result, unmarried, divorced, and childless women often experience social stigmatization.

The minimum legal age of marriage for women is 16. Although there are penal sanctions for underage marriage, underage marriages are recognized and considered legally valid. Research indicates that the rate of adolescent marriage in Pakistan is declining. According to survey data, approximately 19 percent of women are married by the age of 19. By the age of 24, however, ...

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